Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Disability Law Center v. Anchorage School Dist. (9th Cir. - Sept. 9, 2009)

We always talk about the "American Rule" -- that everyone pays their own lawyer (with limited exceptions) -- as opposed to the "English Rule", which provides that the loser of a civil suit pays the other side's fees. After today, however, I think I'm going to start talking about the American Rule as opposed to the "Alaska Rule". 'Cause why bring the English into it if you don't have to? As I just learned -- as a result of this case -- that Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 82 provides for fee-shifting to the losing party in virtually every civil case; indeed, after a little digging, I discovered that it does so in a very interesting way.

That'll teach me not to study Alaska law. You learn something new every day. Thanks, Judge Farris.

So let's start a trend. Every time you're thinking about referring to the English Rule, let's call it the Alaska Rule instead. Sure, we'll seem less worldly. But we'll be getting back at the Brits for all that stuff they did to us pre-1783. Plus burning the White House. That'll teach 'em.

P.S. - I will add that even in my ignorance, I wouldn't have made the same mistake with regard to the Alaska rules as the Alaska district court (Judge Beistline) did here. This was a federal question case, so Rule 82 of the Alaska Rules don't apply. And as Judge Ferris rightly points out -- and as is crystal clear in the rule itself -- Alaska Local Rule 54.3 just talks about the timing of attorney fee motions, and in no way, shape or form incorporates the substance of Rule 82 itself.